Thursday, July 9, 2009

What will the impact of Caritas in Veritate have on us and our culture?

I have noticed two significant and quite polarizing news situations that have emerged before us as a society. First and foremost has been the much anticipated release of Pope Benedict's newest encyclical Caritas in Veritate, which I hope to read shortly. Second has been the buzz and fallout with the interview of Justice Ginsberg regarding the initial reason Roe v. Wade was allowed, to more or less suppress a certain aspect or culture of society, to put it as delicately as I can. Two views could not be more polarized.

Having not read the encyclical as of yet, I hesitate to comment. Having studied Catholic Social Teaching and having read the Pope's previous encyclicals, Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi, I feel it is safe to say he toes along the same line, the dignity and respect of the human being as made in the image and likeness of God are the foundation of what builds a society and what will continue to hold this nation together. Our economy will only stabalize once we all realize we are here for one another and not for profit. We must as a society look out for mankind. This encompasses fetuses at birth until natural death of the infirmed and elderly no longer considered productive in society. Who can determine that? Only God. It is a judgment call to say someone is productive or not, and we are not here to make judgments.

Last night at dinner, my mom and a friend of mine agreed they did not want to be burdens on their families when they got old and couldn't do for themselves any more. They both said they would "pull the plug" so to speak. So my mom says, "Debbie you have my permission to pull the plug, alright?" I looked at her and said it was not my plug to pull, only God could pull that plug when He was good and ready. Well that shut her up and she didn't say too much after that. Now my friend continued to say she would have this discussion with God when the time came, she would say, "God I know you don't believe in this but this is what I want." Now this cracked me up, we have so little regard for the omniscence of God.

The Pope is also calling on us as a society to give a helping hand to those countries that are considered not worthy because of their wealth or status as a powerful nation. That concept must begin at home, in our own neighborhoods, in our cities, our own states. I read a beautiful article today by Monsignor Guissani and he stated the same concepts that John Paul II focused on in so many of his writings. We only find completeness of self when doing for others. He says that when we witness another struggle it is natural for us, as human beings, to want to help them "with something of ours." He goes on to say that this is a need of ours that has to be met. If this need is not met we are incomplete beings. How many times has John Paul II stressed this "communio personarum", in that we are only complete human beings when freely giving the gift of self.

On the other hand Justice Ginsberg is saying, with no qualms by the way, Roe v. Wade was meant to keep a certain population from growing too large. And this is different from what Hitler did how? Now knowing that mentality it bogles the mind..... I can't even finish the thought. If we don't begin to see the worth of the tiniest human being or the oldest and sickest among us we will not begin to see the worth in others around us. They can lay their gifts at our feet and we will not recognize the blessing before us. What will become of us as a society, a nation if we continue with this disregard?

I encourage all Catholics, and non-Catholics as well, to please read the new encyclical. Think about what the Pope is asking of us as a society. And then I encourage you to read the Gospels again to see how this relates to the teaching of Christ and how we as Christians must bring this to fruition. You know it is up to us.

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